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Fire Guts Ancient Tibetan Town in South-West China: A Photo Essay

01/13/2014 10:10 am ET | Updated Mar 15, 2014

It was sad to read that a 10-hour blaze razed the mainly wooden 1,000-year-old Tibetan town of Dukezong in South-West China over the weekend. The lanes were so narrow that the fire trucks could not get through.

With its soaring mystical mountains, emerald meadows and golden spired monasteries, it was not for nothing, even if a bit corny, that the Zhongdian region, where the town in situated in Yunnan Province, changed its name to Shangri-La, after the mythical Himalayan land of James Hilton's 1933 novel, to promote its tourist potential even further.

The following is a gallery of photos from a visit to the town a few years ago:

Street scenes from the old town:

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Night scenes in town, with some dancing:

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Ganden Sumtseling monastery, three miles away and unharmed:

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Shangri-La's neighborhood:

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